Architectural tondo with Canopic image

Roman Provincial
Imperial, probably Hadrianic or Early Antonine
about A.D. 130–140


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 310; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 114 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Diameter: 98 cm (38 9/16 in.)

Accession Number

1970.243

Medium or Technique

Limestone

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Architectural elements

A large, high architectural relief takes the form of the Canopic Osiris or Sarapis. The sacred jar and its anthropoid lid have been placed on a wreath, and this in turn on an altar or cippus, all within and above a circular frame. The head of the unusual divinity bears features seen in Romano-Egyptian decorative architectural statues of Hadrian’s favorite Antinous found at Canopus in Egypt, in the Villa Adriana near Tivoli, and on the estates of Herodes Atticus in Attica. The jar is enriched with birds on an altar and figures of Harpocrates amid the foliage on either side. The ensemble was found near Mallawi, a relatively modern town between Thebes and Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile, at a point triangulated with Deir-el-Bersha and El-‘Amarna. The building must have been a shrine or a large tomb. Antinoupolis, the city named in honor of Antinous, was not far away.
The tondo’s molding is broken, and the surfaces are pitted and flaked. The Canopic image is in excellent condition, with only slight damage to the feathers of the headdress, the nose, and the bowl of the “urn.”

Provenance

By 1962: with Royal Athena Galleries, 24 East 80th Street, New York (Catalogue of Egyptian and Other Near Eastern Antiquities, 1962, no. 34) (said to be from Egypt, found near Mallawi; Kamel Hamida Collection); by 1970: Paul E. Manheim Collection; gift of Paul E. Manheim to MFA, March 11, 1970

Credit Line

Gift of Paul E. Manheim